Friday night we went to Lalimes in Berkeley. We hadn’t been here in a while. We used to come quite often when I was working in Berkeley but it fell off our radar screen after a couple of mediocre meals; thus, we hadn’t been back here in about 4 or 5 years. We enjoy the sister restaurants, Fonda and Sea Salt, and have been meaning to go back to Lalimes for a while to see if it had improved since our last visit years ago.
I love the setting of Lalimes, and the service was warm and comforting. The food was pretty good. We ate Tapas style, sharing starters as our dinner:
Sardinian couscous with seafood: tasty mix of calamari, shrimp and grilled sardine on a couscous salad.
Corn chowder with shrimp tikka: excellent, with great balance of sweet and spice, rich and balanced
Fettuccine with chicken livers: very tasty, but dinky portion. Distinct bacon character perfumed the dish, which matched well with the liver, sweet onions and sweet-acid tomatoes.
Mussels: Delicious but very rich. The broth they were in had A LOT of butter. Accompanying frites were terrific as well.
Sweetbreads: The clunker of the evening. One of the most memorable sweetbreads dishes I had ever eaten was at Lalimes, so I was excited to see sweetbreads on the menu. Unfortunately, the dish was disappointing all around. The sweetbreads were served on fresh corn polenta that was so sweet it could have been served as dessert. The sweetbreads themselves were mushy, stringy and bland; they lacked the crispy crust, velvety interior and meaty flavor that make sweetbreads good.
We enjoyed our meal except for the sweetbreads. And I really do love the vibe of the place. I think we will be coming back to Lalimes more often.